Tired in a back-to-back situation, the Maple Leafs take on another desperate opponent fighting for their playoff lives tonight in Washington (7:30 p.m. EST, Sportsnet/TNT/HBO Max).

Game Day Quotes

Sheldon Keefe on scratching TJ Brodie:

We just think it is an opportunity for us to give him a little bit of time off and lighten the workload a little bit. He has taken on a lot for us.

Brods knows he hasn’t been at his best this season for most of the season, and yet he has taken on a lot for us. We have been through a lot with our defense, in particular, throughout the season, and he has consistently been there each night taking on most of the hardest matchups every single night. It has been a lot.

It is a chance for us to give him a night off and also get Timmins back involved. Lyubushkin is not on the trip and is still not available.

Keefe on the challenge presented by the surging Capitals:

They have been a resilient group. They have found ways to win and found ways, if it is slipping away, to bring it back. It is a credit to Spencer (Carbery) and his coaching staff as well as the players for how they have bought in.

They are a really good mix of a team right now. They have really solid veterans who have won before. They have young guys who have taken steps and taken advantage of their opportunities. They have gotten terrific goaltending. All of those things have come together.

They are playing loose and free and doing what they can to get into the playoffs. They will be a hungry team again tonight.

Capitals head coach — and former Leafs assistant coach — Spencer Carbery on Auston Matthews’ huge goal-scoring season:

He has been outstanding all year. I heard Sheldon talk about it a little earlier this year — and I can see it — regarding health. He looks like he is 100% healthy ripping the puck.

I worked with him a lot on the power play. His one-timer now from the dot — where Leon Draisaitl hits it a lot — looks as good as I have ever seen it in the years I spent with him. He is a threat over there as a one-timer.

He is now feeling like that 60-goal year where he is stepping into areas off of the rush where he is just pulling and snapping it and it is coming off hot. 70 is not out of reach for him.

Carbery on the keys to keeping Matthews quiet:

With the shot, similar to Bedard, off the rush, you really have to be careful with your gaps and make sure he is not getting you backed into the top of the circles and closer. That’s where, even if you are in front of him, if he gets into that area, look out. He can pull it through your triangle and shoot through your feet.

The thing I think that he does better than anybody in the world is his ability to win 50-50 pucks, pull them off the yellow, take contact, and spin-off. It is as good as I have ever seen. That’s what separates him, having that body and strength on the puck. He will go into confrontation for a 50-50 puck, and — because he is so smart, strong, and quick — he comes out with those pucks 80% of the time, whether it is a forecheck puck or an o-zone spray.

Our D need to do a really good job, when they close on him, of being heavy on their stick. You have to use your body control so that he is not spinning off of you. If he gets five, six or 10 of those pucks tonight in the offensive zone, they usually turn into scoring chances and trouble for you defensively.

Carbery on what former Capital Joel Edmundson will bring to the Maple Leafs:

I think he is a great addition to their team not only with what he does on the ice — from a physical standpoint, he defends so well and is hard at the net front — but also from a leadership standpoint.

His teammates really, really like him. He is a calming presence. He is not boisterous and loud or the most vocal guy in the room, but he has a real calming presence to him. I think guys really appreciate and respect that about him.

He has won a Stanley Cup, and you can see why a guy like that has had so much success and been on a lot of good teams in his career.

Carbery on Alex Ovechkin’s recent play (12 goals in 20 games since the All-Star break):

Pucks are going in the net for him. He has done a really nice job on the power play. We have integrated some changes with him moving around a little bit more frequently.

Post All-Star break, it is almost like he smells that these are the most important games of the year. His competitiveness and what he is doing inside of his game — his level of detail away from the puck, his leadership on the bench/locker room — is more engaged. He is trying to get guys to do the right things and make winning plays.

You can tell he has been through this a long time — 19 years now — and this time of year is his time to shine. He really, really wants to get his game to a higher level and also our entire group’s as our captain.

Carbery on goaltender Charlie Lindgren’s recent 5-1-0 run (.956 save percentage, one shutout):

It is a little bit reminiscent of the beginning of the year. He is just in the zone right now.

His consistently starting games has helped as well. With us giving him the ball and him playing game after game, it feels like he is in a good rhythm and has a ton of confidence. The guys have a ton of confidence in him.

He is in a really good spot.

Alex Ovechkin on Matthews’ pursuit of 70 goals:

It is great. I am happy for him. I hope he gets 70. You never know. He is a special player. It is fun to watch.

The fans love it. He is going to make history as a guy to score 70. It is fun to watch.

Ovechkin on the keys to shutting Matthews down:

I don’t think I am going to play against him, to be honest with you.

Head-to-Head Stats: Maple Leafs vs. Capitals

In the season-to-date statistics, the Leafs hold the advantage over the Capitals in five out of five offensive categories and three out of five defensive categories.

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines

#59 Tyler Bertuzzi – #34 Auston Matthews – #11 Max Domi
#23 Matthew Knies – #91 John Tavares – #88 William Nylander
#74 Bobby McMann – #29 Pontus Holmberg – #89 Nick Robertson
#24 Connor Dewar – #64 David Kampf – #18 Noah Gregor

#44 Morgan Rielly – #22 Jake McCabe
#20 Joel Edmundson – #37 Timothy Liljegren
#2 Simon Benoit – #25 Conor Timmins

Starter: #60 Joseph Woll
#35 Ilya Samsonov

Extras: TJ Brodie
Injured/Out: Ryan Reaves, Ilya Lyubushkin, Mitch Marner, Calle Jarnkrok, Mark Giordano

Washington Capitals Projected Lines

#8 Alex Ovechkin – #24 Connor McMichael – #77 TJ Oshie
#63 Ivan Miroshnichenko – #17 Dylan Strome – #43 Tom Wilson
#67 Max Pacioretty – #29 Hendrix Lapierre – #15 Sonny Milano
#47 Beck Malenstyn – #26 Nic Dowd – #21 Aliaksei Protas

#42 Martin Fehervary – #74 John Carlson
#38 Rasmus Sandin – #3 Nick Jensen
#27 Alexander Alexeyev – #57 Trevor van Riemsdyk

Starter: #79 Charlie Lindgren
#35 Darcy Kuemper

Injured: Nicklas Backstrom